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tv   [untitled]    October 13, 2010 7:00pm-7:30pm PST

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issues about some changes that might have been agreed to and asking us among other things to continue or to modify. i know in some cases you have done so, but in this case, i don't believe it is necessary. we can work with the design engineer of record to make sure that happens. >> thank you. >> mr. kornfield, was the information for review
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sufficient? >> i could not answer that. >> could mr. tom answer that? >> could you repeat the question one more time, sir? >> i asked was the level of detail in the first structural' addendum package of sufficient detail for review purposes? >> hi name is hanson tam, with the department of building inspection. we concluded that addendum number two was actually submitted, and it included adequate information. as of right now, we have engaged again with the engineer of record to go through
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addendum two. i think right now we are ready to embark on the cap for this project. >> there were some discussions on the professional association standards and methods of analysis, and there was some disagreement on that. do you concur with the approach that was taken by the engineer of record? >> you are referring to the afce 41? >> correct. >> could you address that? >> when we start a project, the proposal is using a performance-based analysis. the project was presented to us using efce-41, an american standard of civil engineer standard.
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it is not a code, but it has been widely used by the engineering professions. we have buildings in san francisco using that standard for building retrofit. so we have agreed to use that with a peer review process, and we ran through that. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. is there public comment on this item? i just want to remind everyone that people who are affiliated with any of the parties including paid consultants need to speak under the time allotted to the parties. >> michael tear yo, san francisco building trades council. three years ago when this project came before the building inspection commission as an informational matter, i was on that commission
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approximately where commissioner phuong is sitting right now. i recommended that this matter might eventually, if folks were still not satisfied with the results of the peer review, end up right where it is this evening in front of you. but i also was reminded, as i had already believed that i remembered, that the question of the masonery infill was a question. in addition i recall, and was reminded again, that the question of process was one that we dealt with back then. the advocates from the state bar association at that time
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wanted it to be a public process, the peer review to be a public process. the inclusion of the engineer's comments that you eventually saw are at least in part a result of that conversation at the building inspection commission. but presently i have to say that i am in a different capacity here now. i want you to take the urgency of this project in a serious way. we have 25% to 40% unemployment in the building trades. this is a project that could start work at any moment. so it is not a decision to take lightly if you are to postpone the project in any way. thank you. >> thank you. next speaker, please? >> good evening. thanks for staying up so late on this again. i am gabriel metcalf, the executive director of spur.
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our mission is to promote good planning and good government. this project is precisely the kind of project that we as a city are trying to promote. it is in-fill development that we want. it is building of a footprint that is already there. it is taking advantage of all the existing infrastructure in the city, side walks, city transit, streets and parks. i would think that our goal is to create a climate of certainty for people who are considering in investing the building stock like this. if you follow the rules, if you follow the planning code and the zone code -- the building code i should say, you're going to get a chance to make the investment. i would urge you to deny this appeal and allow this project
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to move forward. thank you. >> thank you. any other public comment? >> three years ago i was asked by the state bar to come testify about the structural advisory committee. i told them, and what i actually did was you guys have to listen to the engineers. this is all technical. tonight you have heard the proffer a little bit. there was a comment made that he's the best in the world. if someone came to me and said pick the top four of the five in the world, they are sitting in the front row. i am sorry i am not part of it, but they are the best in the world. it is pretty mind-boggling they were able to get them here. if they are using afca 41, i am
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pretty sure two of them wrote it. there is only one in the audience, but i kind of would like to hear from the other two engineers. i think they are the best. the decision is an engineering decision. you should listen to the engineers. thank you. >> thank you. is there any other public comment. seeing none, we will move into rebutt ath. mr. kitchen, you have three minutes. >> thank you. i will make two quick comments. one if -- is if i am a zealous advocate, the bar rules require me to be one. i really don't want to obfuscate the process here by getting into name-calling.
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they wanted to choose who our experts were. but moving aside that, i think they have made my point this evening. you have heard from the project engineer that he has had to go back, and he has rerun the calculations. we just haven't had a chance to look at them, and i think that is what we are asking for in terms of assurance. they have made my point on the sills, which was yes, they originally agreed to drill them, but now they will cut them, which is different. i am not standing here telling you we don't think that infill projects are a bad idea for the city or they shouldn't be done. we are all saying this is a very unusual project. to take a downtown high rise built 40 years ago and building stories on top. it is a very unusual project, and we want to make sure it is done right. you either should send this
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back and make sure that we all get on the same page before the next hearing, or that you should change the conditions of the permit to include some of the concessions i'm hearing. i think what i would like to do for the rest of my time is let you hear from jack. he is not an advocate. he is pretty mild even though he taught a lot of the people who are here listening, and he has pretty strong views. but i think he will tell you himself what he thinks of it, and you should listen to him. that would round out the process and would be a wise use of our time. >> good evening. jack maley. i was one of the individuals who was involved in the writing of the predecessor to the afca-41 document. it was a document written for the seismic rehabilitation of existing buildings, not for the design of new buildings. it doesn't give new building performance, but it has been accepted in this project, and i
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think that is ok. we have heard there is no magic form ra, and there is not. there are certain things checked in every review that i have been involved with. you check that the dampening is right. you check that the model represents reinforced concrete. and then it is fundamental to check that the forces that come out of the computer program that they are less than the capacities of the components to resist them. it was admitted that those forces were never checked. i think they have been checked since then and new analysis have been run, and that is all great, but others haven't had a chance to look at those things. the changes to the sills we have heard tonight are great, but they have not been memorialized in any of the drawings on file with the city. is it conceivable that the building with the sills cut could pass? certainly. but the engineer of record, he
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needs to do the math, and the results need to be looked at and then a decision made. thank you. >> excuse me. before you sit down, i do have a question of you, professor. i am not sure. i know i am going to mispronounce your name, the premier engineer in our presence suggested that the types of concerns raised by the state bar are not as fundamental or critical -- i would like you to address that point. it has been represented here that they are somewhat minor, at least leaving me with that impression, who is not an engineer, that they are almost trivial. >> one could argue some of the details of the engineering aspects of this. the third point i raised was
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that when the computer runs are done, you take the output from the computer run and you check that the sheer forces don't exceed the sheer capacities. that is a fundamental thing. that is not a trivial thing to do. it was noted, maybe by joe and perhaps others, that if you have what is culled a flexorally critical element, then you don't need to do that check, and i agreed with that. however, i went through the calculations submitted by the engineer of record. i weren't through some of the numbers with him, and using those very numbers, those numbers show that the elements are not flexor controlled. i have heard since then that oh, well, there has been a number changed here and there, and now they are flexor controlled. if that is the way the numbers come out, that's great, but that was not what the numbers showed when i looked up the results last week. i think we just need to see
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that these numbers all check out. is that point trivial? no way. it's fundamental. >> thank you. >> professor, i did think your reply brief was compelling. you mentioned in paragraph c some deficiencies, and you mentioned tonight the sheer force check had been done. this is something you talk about in paragraph 7-c. what is your reaction to the results of that check? >> well, i haven't seen the result. we saw tonight that skiingle that was shown on the screen. it shows that the sheer forces are less than the capacities, but i don't know how those calculations were done either to arrive at the sheer force demand from the earthquake or how the capacity was calculated. we just haven't seen those results.
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as of the numbers i saw last week, that check wouldn't have passed. >> so you are saying you would like to verify those numbers? >> i would be happy to, but somebody -- and preferably somebody assigned by the building department, who has the authority in this matter. someone should do a peer review of the new work, and there has been substantial work done. peer review work needs to be done, and i think it could be done handily, and it probably should not be done by individuals who are not hired by either of the two parties involved in this matter. >> thank you. >> thank you. mr. smith, you have three minutes. >> thank you again. my name is todd smith. i want to have the engineers --
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our engineers, come up and speak to that issue because i think there is a fundamental disagreement with professor maley. all three of our engineers as well as the peer review panel clearly concluded that the structure is controlled. there is an issue that needs to be acknowledged. the city hired independent peer reviewers already. they signed off on this building already. in essence the state bar is looking to have this board hold the peer preview process hostage because of one disgruntled neighbor. that is bad precedent. the peer review has already signed off of it. i am going to turn it over to run -- to joe, and then to ron on why the process should stop here tonight.
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>> i have two minutes, is that right? ok. so we right away did a check based on the maximum sheer force that can be delivered into a column. my understanding is that mike did that as well early on. there have been some new runs to answer the questions of the reply brief, but the basic question of whether these things were flexionally controlled were part of the comments in the original peer review, and it was checked by looking at the maximum force that could be delivered. we did that in our office with the assumptions we like to use. we concluded that it was well governed. i am sure that ron concluded the same as well and did the same calculation. we also, by the way, ran an analysis with our preferred assumptions just to superimpose
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one more squiggling lines on a bunch of squiggley lines. we changed a lot of things according to our own professional judgment. if you ask for one more professional judgment and how they would do that, i am afraid the project would go on forever. i think the basic conclusion that this project meets the criteria for seismic safety. the engineer puts his name on the line by the two peer reviewers and the three of us as well. we have all reached that conclusion. thank you. >> madam president and members of the commission, my name is ron hamburger. i am a structural engineer here in san francisco. i would like to first confirm what joe said. i have performed my own independent evaluations of
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flexor critical versus sheer critical, and i am convinced they are flexorally critical, which means the sheer demands on the columns will not impinge on design. >> finish your comment. >> i have no problems with the comments raised by dr. miley and others. the fact is structural calculations are not straight-forward or easy to review. when any engineer reviews another engineer's calculations, they naturally come up with questions and comments. i came up with some of the same questions in my review as everyone else did, and we discussed those with the engineer of record, and he answered them to my satisfaction. so i feel that they have been adequately addressed. finally, if i can have just 30 more seconds, as a past
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president of the structural engineer's association of southern california, of keefl, and the national council of structural engineers associations, i would like to ask you to consider not setting a precedent of sending projects into endless sessions of analysis and review because someone doesn't want the building constructed and hires engineers. it is not in the interests of san francisco. it is not in the interests of this project. it is just a very poor precedent, and i ask you not to do it. thank you. >> mr. kornfield, anything further? commissioners, the matter is submitted. >> just a variety of thoughts on some of the issues that have
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been brought forth. i believe that both buildings are probably being designed for basically the same intent. likely that both buildings in the event of a major seismic event will suffer substantial damage, but they won't collapse. it is possible also that they would have to be torn down floor by floor. that factor i only bring forth because of the issue of what is safety brought forth by the appellant. the question of how one handles the other materials such as the skin, windows and things hasn't been brought forth. i don't see any responses to
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that. but it is likely that most buildings in downtown san francisco, except possibly a few where the designs are extremely competent, are going to suffer the same event. it is interesting that what started out as a review process, you can see in the tenor of the letters got worse and worse. it appears that the disagreements turned highly personal to a certain extent, and that's too bad, because most structural peer reviews, plan checking and such usually occur congenially. it depends on how someone
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responds to certain comments. we have ascertained that the appropriate documents have been provided, although the reviews probably occurred later than they should have. i do want to reflect a little bit on some of the comments made. yes, there are probably certain minimum requirements in a structural analysis. different engineering firms will tackle it slightly differently as a matter of their practice and their background. but also, more importantly, different firms have different levels of cons serve tism that they apply in the fact analysis. some firms are much more conservative than others, and others are more risk-takers.
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they probably don't last very long. but the question of then -- was the level of review here what should be expected within the city and county of san francisco? i believe that it was. the peer review process appears to have been fairly complete. usually structural engineers don't have a problem sharing their information. in this particular instance, it didn't quite happen as compared to many other instances i have been involved in. i am prepared to uphold the permit. >> earlier this evening as some of you were here, someone in public comment raise the issue about certain members of this
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board and whether or not we were qualified to be up here, and suggested that we were rubber stamps for various agencies of the city that appear before us on a regular basis. a lot of times it is alan use issues, but we also deal with public health, public works, the police department and entertainment. i imagine that some of the representatives of those various city agencies that appear before us were amused to think that we are rubber stamps of some agency because we have given them over the years a fair amount of opposition, modifying some of the things that have come before you, some of the permits. a point was brought up that what was before us is an engineer decision, and i'm going to consider it a virtue that one knows his own limitations. in this case i certainly know my own limitations, and i'm not qualified to make a decision
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based upon something having to do with engineering. to me what this decision is about is whether or not the processes that were applied to engineering decisions have been properly followed, and i feel very comfortable about that. when we are told that the city, d.b.i., relies heavily on vigorous peer review processes, i feel pretty comfortable also relying upon those peer review processes. it has been suggested that a rerun be done, or that maybe there be some modification of this particular permit to codify or to memorialize a sill cut. i am going to rely on mr. korn field that that is not
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necessary. i feel like it would be highly prejudicial to the project sponsor. my decision to uphold this permit, which ultimately i will do, is not based upon anything having to do with jobs, but hard to ignore the fact that we have such high unemployment in the building trades in san francisco. here comes a project that has met peer review standards that is going to provide jobs makes me want to enthusiastically embrace this particular project. >> i would like to echo some of the comments of commissioner garcia. i think i focused my concerns on this when reading the briefs and listening to the testimony on process as well. i think after hearing testimony, i feel satisfied that sufficient process in the peer review has been done.
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if you have the capacity -- any advocate will retain an expert, and i feel comfortable that you are well-arm here on each side, and it is a battle of the experts, and we aren't going to make those types of technical decisions. i'm inclined to deny the appeal. >> i will jump in. with due respect to my fellow commissioners and recognizing that, given what we heard, my vote won't count, i would support a continuance because as the doctor said, someone should do a peer review of the new work and numbers. he suggested that the someone who do that review be someone who is not hired by either one of the parties. so i would support a continuance to allow that to take place.
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>> actually it sounds like this project is better for the process, including the advocacy that we heard tonight. i'm very well aware of the recession. i think we have all struggled over the last couple of years to make sure we streamline the process. having said that, i think we do have to feel comfortable with the final result and that we are at all times keeping our citizens safe, and i do think there is a bit of a red flag here that the data was altered as a result of the professor's inchoiries as recent as last -- in choiries as recent as last week. i would support a continuance, but i don't think the votes are here for them. >> i
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